MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks had several accomplishments throughout the 2012-13 athletic season, certainly more than 13, so here is the Honorable Mention list to kick-off the summer's #WIU13n13.
- Football stages a second half comeback and wins at South Dakota, ending an eight-game road losing streak.
Making his first start at quarterback in more than a year, senior Wil Lunt threw for 180 yards and career-high tying two touchdowns while the defense made a stop on the final drive in a 24-17 win for Western Illinois at South Dakota. Western took control in the fourth quarter. On a direct snap to Caulton Ray, he pitched it back to Lunt who rolled to his right. Fredson Salomon was wide open and the result was a 66-yard TD pass which proved to be the game-winner. The Leatherneck defense forced two incompletions during the Coyotes final drive, stopped a pass short of a first down, then Eddy Holtschlag sacked their quarterback on fourth down and forced another fumble, recovered by Luke Venegoni. Western used the victory formation to secure its first road win since the 2010 NCAA playoff win at Coastal Carolina.
- Leatherneck Volleyball wins Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic for the second consecutive season, and Samantha Fournier is tabbed 'Most Valuable Player'.
After beginning the season 0-3 at its previous tournament, the Fighting Leatherneck volleyball team dominated action in the Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic defeating SIU-Edwardsville (3-2), Loyola (3-0) and invite host Indiana State (3-2). Three Leathernecks earned all-tournament honors, including Samantha Fournier (pictured above) who was tabbed Tournament MVP. Seniors Katie Hosteng and Bridget Murphy also earned All-Tournament honors.
The Leatherneck women's golf team concluded play at the eighth annual WIU Autumn Invitational with a first-place finish with four golfers in the top five. Western's 'Purple Team' took home the team title with a two round score of 632 (330, 302). Kristi Tschudin took home the individual title for her first career tournament victory. The Swansea, Ill. native finished the two-day tournament with a 155 (79, 76).
- Women's Soccer moves from last in Summit League standings in 2011, to the top of the standings in 2012.
After finished the 2011 season 7-12 overall, the Leatherneck women's soccer team rallied to finish 13-6 overall in 2012 and 5-3 in The Summit League standings. In Western's first win of the season the team earned an 8-0 victory which set a new program mark for goals scored in a season. The 23 points (goals and assists) was also a new program record. That win began a six-game win streak and propelled the Leathernecks to their second most wins in program history, 13.
- Women's basketball sweeps North Dakota State for the first time ever, and Oakland for only the second time in program history.
The women's basketball squad pulled off not one but two rare season sweeps this past season. The Leathernecks defeated North Dakota State, 85-83, in Fargo before a 55-50 victory at home to sweep the Bison for the first-time ever in the program's history. In fact, it was the first-ever win in Fargo for the Leathernecks. Western also handed Oakland a pair of loses in 2012-13. WIU opened Summit League play with an 81-73 win at Oakland, then finished the sweep with a 64-53 win in the regular season finale. It marked the first sweep of the Golden Grizzlies since since 2004.
- Both Women's and Men's basketball attendance numbers impressive throughout the season.
The women's basketball team's regular season finale against Oakland brought 1,156 fans to Western Hall, which marked the second highest attendance in program history. The attendance marked the third time during the season Western drew at least 800 fans for a game, and WIU's 644 average home attendance in 14 games was the largest average since the 2006-07 season (660 avg./12 games). The men’s basketball team had its best single-game attendance since 1987 when it played host to South Dakota on March 2nd, as 5,089 fans packed Western Hall and the Leathernecks clinched a share of the The Summit League regular season title. The season also averaged 2,454 fans per game, which ranks eighth in the program’s NCAA Division I era, and is the best average since the 1998-99 season.
- Record amount of food donated for The Summit League's 'Food Fight' event.
Western Illinois recorded a third place finish donating 8,797 pounds of food, an improvement of 5,500 pounds from 2011-12. Food and monetary donations are collected for the annual drive at 18 designated contests, nine women's and nine men's games, during basketball season at each institution. Collections continued at the 2013 Summit League Basketball Championship in Sioux Falls, S.D. The conference's nine members came together to raise more than 65,680 pounds in 2012-13.
- Western Illinois track & field sends five to NCAA outdoor regionals, the most since 2009.
In the 2013 outdoor track & field season, five Leathernecks qualified for the NCAA West Regional, the most since 2009. Dana LaRue (shot put) made her third straight trip to the Regional, Jamario Taylor (high jump) and Nathaniel Marshall (hammer throw) qualified for the second straight year, while Glenn Powell (110-meter hurdles) and Tynan Murray (high jump) earned the honor for the first time. Taylor and LaRue each finished in the top 20, narrowly missing qualifying for nationals.
- Leatherneck junior Zach Burling uses walk-off single to help Western trump North Dakota State at home.
Leatherneck baseball swept the North Dakota State Bison in a four-game series from May 10-12 at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium, the first four-game sweep for Leatherneck baseball in five seasons. In game one of the set on Friday (May 10), junior Zack Burling hit a walk-off infield single in the 10th inning to give the Purple & Gold a 2-1 win. Tanner Glore led off the 10th with a double and advanced to third on a Brent Turner sacrifice bunt. Two batters later Burling came up and beat out a slow-roller to the shortstop to give the Leathernecks the win. The single was the first career walk-off hit for the Carthage, Ill. native.
- Leatherneck baseball earns first Summit League tournament victory in five years.
Leatherneck baseball recorded its first Summit League Tournament win in five years when they defeated top-seeded South Dakota State 4-2 in the opening round on May 23. Aaron Michel threw a career high 8.0 innings in the win and Brian Loconsole picked up his record ninth save. Zack Burling led the Leathernecks with two runs scored while Dan Dispensa led all batters with three hits in the win.
drafted in the 20th round by the Angels, the highest Leatherneck drafted in more than 20 years.
Western Illinois senior pitcher Brian Loconsole was selected in the 20th round (607th overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels on June 8th. Loconsole is the first Leatherneck baseball player to be selected in the top 20 rounds of the MLB Draft since Brad Owens was taken in the 16th round in 1992. The Carol Stream, Ill. native, who did not play baseball in high school, is the single season and career saves leader at Western Illinois after notching nine saves this year. Loconsole finished the season second in the league in saves and also tied for fourth in the league with a team-high 22 appearances.
To view the previous moments on the #WIU13n13, click HERE.